New North Sea Gas Field Gets Up And Running

BEIS minister Greg Hands is quickly becoming a star performer at the government despatch box. After his last showing in January rebutting the opposition’s VAT motion, today he tore Ed Miliband a new one over his own energy record in government after the ex-Labour leader said the Tories needed to get on with a “green energy sprint”. 

“We heard about the ‘green energy sprint’. It’s absolutely extraordinary, since he was the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change in 2010 we have increased the proportion of our electricity generation coming from renewables from 7% to 43%. Now in any normal terms that would be a sprint, but it’s also a marathon in the sense we have done that over a period of 12 years – almost a sextuppeling Mr Speaker if I might.”

“He talks about nuclear, Mr Speaker, but he will remember the 1997 Labour manifesto when they said they saw no economic case for new nuclear power stations, and now he has the cheek Mr Speaker to come to the dispatch box today and urge we get on with nuclear!”

The debate was sparked by an urgent question from Lee Anderson on fracking, in which the minister did not go any further than the already-stated position that Cuadrilla is perfectly within its right to request a delay to the concreting of gas wells. It may not be necessary for the government to u-turn on this, however.

Today it emerges a new gas field under the North Sea has produced its first gas just off East Anglia, with more such developments on the way to help boost the country’s energy security. The gas was secured by IOG, an offshore exploration and production company who say gas from its Blythe well started flowing into the UK gas grid at the weekend, and its second is set to start producing gas within days. Could this, plus Boris’s trip to Saudi, be enough to prevent the government having to u-turn on fracking…

mdi-timer 15 March 2022 @ 13:56 15 Mar 2022 @ 13:56 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Energy Minister Eviscerates Labour’s VAT Motion

Greg Hands delivered the appropriately named winding-up speech to Labour’s opposition motion, in which he absolutely slammed them for playing “student politics”, and focussing on procedural trickery rather than policy amending. Among the best quotes were:

  • Labour doesn’t have a plan, they have a four-page motion. A four-page motion is not a plan”
  • This is a student union tactic which they well-rehearsed during the Brexit years”
  • With the departure for the member of Islington North as leader of the Labour Party I thought it might have a return to serious opposition politics”
  • They have completely lost the plot into their own world of procedural gobbledygook”

Hands’ recanting of Labour’s day-by-day comms strategy was almost Hague-esque…

mdi-timer 11 January 2022 @ 16:59 11 Jan 2022 @ 16:59 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
SNP Frontbencher Schooled on EU Trade Figures by Minister

It seems trade minister Greg Hands has caught Mordaunt-itis, embarrassing the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesperson over his incorrect EU trade figures. Guido’s previously fact checked the myth of a collapse in UK-EU exports after The Observer claimed Brexit had caused a 68% drop in trade in January. As Hands points out, this was primarily over border restrictions introduced in the wake of the Alpha variant’s spread…

In February, Dover Port said “A month on since the end of the Brexit transition period, the Port of Dover is pleased to already be welcoming over 90% of the freight traffic volumes typical of this time of year” 

Hands later said he’d been expecting the proficiently-anti-trade Smith to come armed with deliberately out-of-date data and came armed with the latest figures. As Hands points out, Alyn Smith is the most anti-trade MP in the Commons, being just one of two to be against the EU-Japan FTA…

mdi-timer 20 July 2021 @ 16:08 20 Jul 2021 @ 16:08 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Minister Says Lecturers Should “Get On With Their Actual Job” Over Oxford Statue Row

As Guido first reported last night that 150 Oxford dons are threatening strike action over Oriel College’s refusal to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes, trade minister Greg Hands made the media round this morning to condemn the boycott and advise the woke academics to just get on with their teaching. Speaking to LBC’s Nick Ferrari, Hands said:

“I would just hope that universities get on with their actual job, which is teaching students and making sure that students get the best possible degrees […] it’s a very very difficult time for students, and a lot of them are paying a lot of money for the tuition fees […] so I would just hope that universities focus on their core mission.”

As Guido said yesterday, this woke posturing will ultimately only damage students. 

UPDATE: Universities minister Michelle Donelan has also chimed in, tweeting: 

We fully believe in protecting academic freedom, but this apparent boycott is a ridiculous threat, given universities have a duty to prioritise access to good quality tuition – especially due to the pandemic.”

mdi-timer 10 June 2021 @ 08:54 10 Jun 2021 @ 08:54 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Trade Minister Says British Courts Could Decree Canada or Australia Committed Genocide

Things heated up last night in the Tory MPs WhatsApp group on Trade. Trade Minister Greg Hands, lambasted MPs who are backing the Genocide Amendment today,

“Clearly, we wouldn’t be negotiating any trade deals with any countries which are committing genocide. It just isn’t something a British Government would do. And you will have seen the Foreign Secretary’s robust position on China and Xinjiang this week. There are many problems with the Lord Alton amendment, including the fact that past genocides might be in scope (which could mean Turkey, could even mean Canada or Australia), and the fact that it’s a court which decides, not the Government or Parliament.

I don’t myself like this kind of judicial activism, nor courts opining on foreign policy. Clearly, trade is one lever one can use when dealing with countries which are behaving very badly – but that’s properly a matter for the Government, held to account by Parliament, I think, not the courts.”

Suggesting Canada or Australia had been responsible for genocide did not go down well with MPs. A source close to the Genocide Amendment rebellion’s leaders told Guido…

“We appreciate that the Government is growing desperate but accusing Canada and Australia of genocide is not just offensive to our closest allies but grossly misrepresents the effect of the amendment which only applies to current genocides.

The Government must consider the damage that their ill-fated opposition to this legislation is doing to their reputation for honesty and to our allies.”

MPs are about to begin a four hour debate on Trade Bill amendments. Guido expects it to be spicy…

mdi-timer 19 January 2021 @ 13:00 19 Jan 2021 @ 13:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Merkel: Backstop Can Be ‘Overwritten’

Merkel has given a strong hint that the EU could be prepared to move on the backstop, telling a German press conference that the backstop will be “overwritten” if alternative solutions can be found. This doesn’t actually change the EU’s position yet – as things stand the UK would still be signing up to the backstop in the legally-binding Withdrawal Agreement while the alternative arrangements would be in the non-binding political declaration. It’s still a significant softening of the EU’s rhetoric around the backstop after stonewalling the issue throughout the Tory leadership contest…

It’s good timing, the Alternative Arrangements Commission run by ProsperityUK, led by Greg Hands and Nicky Morgan, published their 268-page Alternative Arrangements Report and Protocols just yesterday. No solution for the Irish border is going to be perfect from day one but it does blow apart the fiction promulgated by May and the EU that the backstop is the only way to solve the border issue. The backstop remains by far the single biggest impediment to a sensible deal, no excuse for either sides’ negotiators not to be looking at alternative arrangements now…

mdi-timer 19 July 2019 @ 11:27 19 Jul 2019 @ 11:27 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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